In through the out door
The Walk-in Closet, a Montreal-made sitcom-style web series, is stuffed with Concordia connections.
The series, which can be viewed on Vimeo, follows a lesbian stand-up comic and a gay male ballet dancer who get engaged and play straight to get Canadian citizenship.
The web series is a small self-funded passion project promoting emerging talent: female, non-binary and trans performers, filmmakers and comedians “who are all part of our LGBTQIA+ family,” says Katharine King, BFA (film prod.) 17, who co-created the series with Natalie Liconti.
King is also the series’ director and a co-star. The varied cast features some well-known Concordia alumni, such as stand-up comic Tranna Wintour, BA 10, Kit McKeown, BFA 17, Maxine Segalowitz, BFA 14, and Dane Stewart, MFA 17. There are also many Concordians in the production crew. (See the full list of Concordia alumni involved below.)
King sat down for a candid Q&A about the making of The Walk-In Closet.
Why did you and Natalie Liconti create The Walk-In Closet?
Katharine King: “At the time we came up with the idea, we were doing the play The History of Sexuality by Dane Stewart. So we were already talking about issues of representation and queerness.
At the same time, I was also working in film the past few years and dealing with many of the same issues. So our miniseries was a reaction to some of these problems we see in popular culture. We wanted do something tangible towards representing queer performers in queer roles, but that was also easily consumable, something fun to watch at 11 p.m. at home on your laptop. The show is fun and pretty campy.”
What has the response been like so far and will there be a second season?
KK: “It’s been quite positive! The response has mostly been local, though we are starting to expand our audience beyond the Montreal sphere. We’ve had interest for distribution in the States, which is beyond exciting. There’s a lot in the works!
We originally created the series for queer and trans communities, but other audiences have been enjoying it and responding to the humour in it as well. As for the cast and crew, I have no doubt we will continue to collaborate and support one another on future projects. Growing these friendships and support systems has been one of the most heartwarming aspects of the entire project.”
How did your time at Concordia help shape you?
KK: “I moved from Vancouver to Montreal because I heard the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia was the best film production program in the country. In terms of my education in sexual representation on screen, my queer cinema course taught by Matthew Hays [BFA 91, MA 99] was life changing, as were my film professors Tom Waugh and Rosanna Maule.
As for the series, a lot of people in our cast and crew graduated from Concordia. This series would not have been possible without those connections. The way Concordia is structured really helped foster these friendships outside of class time over three or four years. Many of us bonded there and these connections have turned into lasting relationships.”
Your series especially targets queer and trans millennials.
KK: “They are on internet, they want instant gratification, they want things that are fun, they want it sitcom-style and enjoyable but also, more than ever, they are interested in the political integrity behind the creative process. As young people consume all of this online, we also wanted to address the problem of representation through our choice to cast performers who were all part of our LGBTQIA+ family, and the historical problems associated with entertainment created by straight people telling stories from our collective queer history without involving us in the creation. We combined all of this to create The Walk-In Closet.”
The Walk-In Closet’s cast and crew feature a number of Concordia alumni and students.
- Ginny: Katharine King, BFA 17
- Ms. Hutchcroft: Tranna Wintour, BA 10
- Sam: Kit McKeown, BFA 17
- Patti: Maxine Segalowitz, BFA 14
- Motorcycle Man: Dane Stewart, MA 17
- Created by: Katharine King, BFA 17 (and Natalie Liconti)
- Director: Katharine King
- Director of photography: Zion Saffer, film production student, and Katherine Dydyk, BFA 17
- Production manager: Julie Palnychenko film production student
- Editing: Annie Hunting, BFA 17
- Sound design: Bea Scharf-Pierzchala, BFA 17
- Original score: Marc-Antoine Barbier, BFA 17
- Colourist: Raphaël Sandler, film production student
- Assistant camera: Yang Zhang, BFA 16, Gregoire Van de Maele, film production student, Fred Bashar, film production student, Gabriel Fizer, communication studies student, James Bourque, BFA 16
- Gaffer: Raphaël Sandler, film production student
- Grips: Brian Sokolowski, BFA 17, Matt Ober, BFA 17
- Sound recordists: Bea Scharf-Pierzchala, BFA 17, Peter Hostak, BFA 17, Raphaël Sandler, film production student, Monica Rekas, film production student
- Boom: Matt Ober, BFA 17
- Visual effects: Yang Zhang, BFA 16
- Makeup artist: Amanda Manson, BFA 17
- Photography: Katherine Dydyk, BFA 17
- Craft: Kalden Dhatsenpa, film production student, Monica Rekas, film production student, Katharine King, BFA 17